Composting and worm farming

Discover what composting and worm farming is, and which one is best for your household.

Person emptying a bowl of colourful food scraps into a compost bin. Bin is already at the brim with existing food scraps.

Composting and worm farming transforms your food waste into nourishment for your garden or pot plants.

Where can I order a compost bin or worm farm?

We have partnered with the award-winning Compost Revolution program to offer up to 70% subsidies on composting products for Yarra residents. 

Join the Compost Revolution

Why compost?

Supercharge your garden

  • It improves soil structure and adds nutrients.
  • Compost and mulch help retain moisture in the soil, saving you water.
  • If you don’t have a garden, worm castings and 'tea' are great for pot plants.

Help the environment

  • Food makes up 50% of our waste going to landfill.
  • As it breaks down, food waste creates methane which affects our air quality and contributes to climate change.
  • Composting or worm farming your food scraps keeps valuable resources out of landfill and gives you nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.

Save money

  • Each year, we throw out $2,200 worth of food.
  • Composting reduces the cost of rubbish disposal to the community.

Find out more on why you should compost on the Compost Revolution website.

Which system should I use?

Composting is best suited to households with a garden, as they require a combination of food waste and garden prunings. They are suitable for those with a lot of food waste. Keep in mind that some types of compost systems need to be seated on bare earth.

Worm farms are ideal for people with small gardens or without garden waste. Well maintained worm farms shouldn't smell and can be kept on your veranda, balcony, or indoors. Worm farms can't process as much food waste as a compost system.

View our Tutorials to help you choose the best system for you.

What if I don't have enough space?

  • ShareWaste can help you find someone in Yarra to accept and compost your food scraps. 
  • Yarra’s Zero Waste map can help you find food waste drop off points and community composting hubs.

How do I compost?

A compost bin requires minimal upkeep to function well provided that the added materials are balanced.

Some tips for composting include:

  • Collect your kitchen scraps in a compost caddy or container indoors before adding them to the compost bin.
  • Add food scraps and green garden waste (nitrogen rich material) in combination with dry grass, paper, unlaminated cardboard and dry leaves (carbon rich material).
  • Keep meat and large quantities of dairy out of your compost bin.
  • Turn your compost with a garden fork or aerator regularly to keep it aerated so it breaks down effectively.
  • When the compost looks like rich, dark soil, it's ready to be dug into your garden.

How do I worm farm?

When setting up your worm farm:

  1. Find a location out of direct sun for your worm farm. Worms prefer temperatures of between 18°C and 24°C with good air flow and can die if they overheat.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up your worm farm and the bedding inside it.
  3. Add at least 1000 compost worms and then cover the surface with a layer of damp newspaper, a pizza box or worm blanket.

Some tips for worm farming include:

  • Feed your worms fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds and tea leaves.
  • Don't feed your worms meat and keep dairy and citrus to a minimum.
  • Worm farms produce castings (worm poo), which can be mixed in with soil or potting mix, and ‘tea’ (worm wee), which can be diluted (one part worm tea, 10 parts water) and poured onto your plants.
  • Castings can be harvested when your first working tray is full – simply remove the lid and wait for the worms to burry down, then scrape the castings off the top, layer by layer.
  • Drain worm tea from your worm farm regularly or keep the tap open and let it drain into a bucket continuously.

Growing your own food

Growing your own food is great for your health and the environment. It can save you money and reduce waste, as you can sometimes harvest small quantities of things like herbs at a time and it enables you to avoid packaged produce.

Visit our Growing food at home page to learn more.

Learn more at one of our workshops

We run free online workshops via My Smart Garden throughout the year on a variety of topics, including:

  • composting
  • worm farming
  • small space gardening
  • organic gardening
  • keeping chickens.

To receive updates on upcoming workshops, subscribe to the My Smart Garden e-newsletter or keep an eye on our What's On page.